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1:00 pm >> welcome to al jazeera, i'm dell walters. here's what we're working on at this hour. u.n. inspectors on the ground and under fire in syria. they're there investigating claims of chemical weapons attack. a jury of combat veterans will be determining the fate of a fort hood killer. and wildfires burning out of control in california. [♪ music ] >> al jazeera has just learned that u.s. secretary of state john kerry is going to be speaking about an hour from now.
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he is expected to be talking about serious civil war. we'll bring live coverage right here as those remarks are made. now we turn to syria where inspectors are on route to investigate a chemical weapons attack, and were shot at by a sniper. they were on road to the suburb of damascus when they were attacked. they were able to continue on in another vehicle. the u.n. said they were confident they would get any evidence despite it's a week's passing since that attack. we have more on the inspectors and the attack. >> reporter: united nations' chemical weapons investigators leave their damascus hotel to inspect the site of last week's attack. but an u.n. spokesperson said unidentified snipers deliberately shot at the first
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vehicle to approach the area. this shows the 4 x 4 that was targeted. bullet hole in the windshield. no one was injured but the team was forced to go back to the syrian army checkpoint. it took four days of negotiation before the syrian government would allow the u.n. investigators access. the assad government has repeatedly denied all responsibility. but senior u.s. british and french officials among others say they have little doubt over ho carried out the attack. >> from accounts that we and some of our partners around the world have, what is certain is that this massacre originates from assad's regime. we'lthat's what will be decidedn
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the coming days. >> reporter: they suggested that military response to the alleged attack is possible without, quote, complete unity at the united nations security council. >> we cannot in the 21st century allow the idea that chemical weapons can be used with impunity. that people can be killed in this way, and that there are no consequences for it. >> reporter: syria's biggest ally russia say there is evidence that rebels are to blame. they say intervention in syria without an u.n. mandate would be a grave violation of international law. >> we've had this movement in iraq and libya, and not a single case of intervention improved or brought stablation. everyone should work together as agreed in the g-8 summit this
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year. >> reporter: the syrian leader said comments made by politicians in the west and other countries are an insult to common sense. it is nonsense. the obama administration said it wants proof chemical weapons used and proof who used them. >> you can destroy the runways, you can destroy assad's munitions and fuel. there are lots and lots of things we can do. we can even destroy the syrian air force. >> there ca can't be an unilatel america support. you have to have shared responsibility. >> whatever you do militarily has some political purpose and moves us towards a resolution of the situation. so there is no point in firing a weapon, dropping a bomb to drop
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a bomb. >> reporter: the syrian government and the rebels have promised a cease-fire in the area of the alleged attack to u.n. inspectors can gather evidence. activists are blaming pro niner gunmen for the attack on the u.n. vehicle: the u.n. team has now managed to get in the area. this area filmed by an activist shows them gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses, whatever they find the calls for intervention from western governments and their allies is getting louder. al jazeera. >> secretary of state john kerry is said to address the situation in syria in an hour. david, the newspapers in beirut indicate war in syria is a forgone conclusion. >> reporter: well, as we said before, dell, that's right.
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here is the front page of today's paper. a reminder of the way things seem and feel in beirut, the national newspaper. "drums of war." they expect some indication of chemical weapons attack will be identified rather quickly, and that there will be a retaliatory response of some kind. they certainly are prepared for what we would describe as the worst from here because they always become nervous should anything be that close by. we're only 65 miles west of damascus right here. the inspectors going on inside here had evidently had a fairly good day. they've gone into two hospitals and we're being told quite a bit of material being brought out. they've had blood samples from living and deceased, and they've taken soil samples to determine if there is anything evident in the soil. tomorrow they'll go back in to a different location. they'll go to the eastern side of the city rather than the western side of the city. but there is a lot of ground to
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cover for them, they expect this will take several more days. everybody is waiting for secretary kerry's statement about an hour were right now. we'll be standing by to watch that also. >> you've been covering a lot of wars. you see the lead up to wars. it seems that the world is war-worn, yet there are those graphic images of children dying in what appears to be a chemicals weapons attack. what is the situation on the ground, and how does it feel? >> well, it feels tense, there is no question about that, dell. it really does. i mean, this nation has its own problems with shia and sunni divisions within lebanon itself, and they've been through issues with neighboring israel. everyone here is prepped for what i say can be a worst case scenario. i think an hour from now will tell a lot of detail. they're watching closely to see what we'll hear and we'll be standing by independently.
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>> thank you very much. joining us from beirut. the obama administration said there is little doubt that chemical weapons were used. but the security council remains as divided as ever. we have this report from the u.n. >> the one thing that all of the members of the u.n. security council agree on is that they support now the weapons inspection team and their work on the ground in syria, even though that work has proved difficult with that sniper attack. the problem is this: the mandate of that team is to determine whether chemical weapons were used not which side actually used the chemical weapons. so in many ways this investigation does not help us on the way forward now. some countries believe there should be potentially military action. they are certainly planning for military action. the drum beats of war heard particularly in london and in
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paris. no one is suggesting that they should actually put troops, boots on the ground in syria, but some expect a short targeted attack on key command sites in syria, and i'm being told to look back at the example of operation desert fox when president bill clinton was president in 1998, this would be a big action if it is authorized by president obama. >> secretary of state john kerry is said to address the situation in syria in 50 minutes from now. a jury in texas is wrestling with the fate of a mass murderer as the sentencing phase begins for army major nadal hassan. hassan was convicted in the army shooting spree that took place in 2009. 13 people were killed and 40 people were injured.
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the sentencing phase is expected to last two to three days and the jury will hear impact statement from those who were impacted by the mass shooting. we go to a military prosecutor and law professor o, thank you r being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> do you think hassan is going to get the death penalty? >> well, in my opinion the case for the death penalty is very compelling. there is uncontested proof of his mass murder, and what we're seeing today is presentation of evidence that indicates how devastating these crimes were to the victims and the victims' families. that's the standard we use to decide whether or not to ajudge death. it only takes one no-vote, and he will not be sentenced to death. >> this seems perfunctory but they still refer to hassan as
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major. will they strip him of his title. >> they don't have the authority to strip hassan of h his rank. they can give a dismissal which is a dishonorable discharge of an officer. when he leaves fort hood he'll go to fort leavenworth, and his status will be as an inmate. technically he'll still be a major until dismissal set in motion until all the appeals are he is hawked and the army issues court-martial order. he'll stop receiving all pay and benefits, and his status will be functionally as inmate hassan at fort leavenworth, cans. >> the last time a military plan was executed was 1961, was that the gary gilmore case? >> yes, it was. gary gilmore was an
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african-american service member who was executed. there are service members on death row now, but none of them have been executed since 1961, and none of them are officers. we may have another unique aspect of this case, the first officers in modern memory to be sentenced to death, and the first physician to be sentenced to death by a court-martial could very well be nadal hassan. >> and this would be by firing squad, correct? >> no, the method of execution at fort leavenworth is lethal injection. it's an excellent correctional facility, and they have a death chamber there, and they train and are prepared to implement the death sentence through lethal injection. >> thank you for joining us
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today. california's rim wildfire continues to rage out of control. some 149,000 acres have been scorched in the wind-driven face, forcing many to evacuate their homes. 3,000 firefighters are now on the scene trying to save more than 4500 moments. winds have pushed the fires close to major roads and highways surrounding yosemite. that fire is only 15% contained. >> meteorologist: well, the heat is on across the north central plains and midwest. what an uncomfortable day right now in minneapolis. it is 88 degrees. not even near the end of the day where we're supposed to climb to a high of 98, in chicago 92. this type of year chicago typically sticks around 81 degrees, so that normal, but look at the temperatures at the
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end of the day, 98 degrees, and 911 in minneapolis. very uncomfortable. lots of sunshine and humidity playing a role out there. so it feels very miserable across the area. later on in the day because of the heating of the day the instability in the atmosphere causing central portions of minnesota we're looking at a chance of damaging winds, hail and even a chance of tornadoes in minneapolis. we want folks to use per caution if it they're traveling there. you can see temperatures well above they should be this time of year. dell, back to you. >> and we continue to await word from u.s. secretary of state john kerry concerning the situation in syria as he speaks. we'll bring you his comments live. also millions of kids are going back to school across the country, and chicago school closures and neighborhood violence top the concerns of
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parents there.
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jazeera america. >> i'm kim bondy, growing up in news was always important. you have this great product that you are ready to share with the country.
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i'm a part of a team that is moving in the same direction. more news. ♪ >> welcome back to al jazeera. i'm dell walters. police officers and community volunteers line the streets of chicago as students there went back to class. dozens of schools have been closed and students attending new schools now find themselves walking through crime-ridden areas. last week five people were shot and killed along a route that many students take each and every day. safe passage is the plan that the city of chicago has put into place to protect those students. we have more. >> reporter: this is one of chicago's new safe passage
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accuratroutes. they're supposed to be secured paths from school to home, but five shooting galleries occurred. >> i saw the carnage on the street which was just horrific. >> reporter: this term school begins with 50 schools now close closed, most of them on the perilous south and west sides. making the trek longer and dangerous. >> you don't want to take the good with the bad, you just don't want to have that mix up where my kid is there, and something happens, and he's mistaken as being a gang banger. >> the issue of being in the wrong place. >> reporter: some parents who change schools now have to drive them. >> they'll be walking through gang territories.
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could not fathom having my baby walk through the schools especially through the neighborhoods that are not as safe as we would like them to be. >> reporter: chicago's downtown is a safe haven of offices and luxury shopping, but in many neighborhoods the only place safe for children is school, and with longer walks through gangster tore, some parents worry closeds schools means children will die. >> they don't want to leave. i'm liker go home. they don't want to leave. it's largely because at this school, we provide a safe haven for them. once they leave that safe haven, we're back out there in the real world. they're not allowed to be children out there. >> reporter: with the chicago education department nearly $1 billion over budget, cutting schools will only likely get worse. >> you can't keep cutting schools where you don't have the student population. so cut back on costs, close some schools, and try to figure out how you can legally guard children who have to face
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illegal gangs. that's the issue. >> reporter: as city authorities try to figure out how to do that, children walk on some of the most lethal streets in america. >> it's been so bad so long here is a reminder of how chicago got that way. back in may chicago school officials announced that 49 public schools would be closing, and more than 2,000 teachers would be laid off in what is one of the largest school closing in history. the closures are the result of a $1 billion deficit. driven primarily by a $400 million increase in annual teacher pension payments. parents of affected children say the closures disproportionately affect black students who live in areas where the schools were shut down. joining me now is kerry patterson. she's parent of a son who goes to a public school in chicago. she's trying to get him in to a
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better school. this has been confusing to me for years. how is it that downtown chicago is so safe and where your son will attend school is not safe? >> um, basically downtown, you know, it costs money, of course, that's why it's nice for tourism. they have to maintain some type of positivity for the city. >> is that acceptable to you that your child would wound out to be political fodder as they try to figure out how to fix chicago? >> no, it's not. that's why my son is not going to the homeschool that they assigned to him. i refuse to send him there. >> assuming that in this case, president obama, who hails from chicago, he calls chicago his home. and rahm emmanuel, mayor of chicago, assuming he's listening, what do you have to say for your son and the fact
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that you don't want him to go to school there. >> what i would say to mr. mr. emmanuel and mr. bennet, i don't know why they would close 50 schools in terms of what is going on in chicago with the murder rates. a lot of schools that were closed, a lot of those schools were rivals, and some of the students who attended both schools. i know when i was growing up on the west side i went to a school, which they closed. where they're going to send those schools maybe two blocks over. and it has always been a rival. so i'm not understanding how they're going to address pretty much overcrowding because tease all that they're doing. they're overcrowding a lot of these schools. and the excuses that they're giving is, like, i can't believe
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that they were able to do that. >> let me ask you this question. you said you were a student of the chicago public school system. you now have a son who is a student in the chicago school system. was it this bad when you were going to school? and if so, how long ago was th that. >> well, it's not polite to ask a lady her age. but i came up in '80, and it is a huge difference in terms of the teachers did seem like they cared more back then. i'm not taking anything from the teachers of today. the teachers of today have a lot to deal with. there was always crime when i was coming up, but a lot of stuff that my children and other kids have to deal with now we didn't have to deal with that when we were coming up. this is chicago. it's always been violent here, but what is going on now is kind
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of like, it's at epic proportions. that's partially because of what the city of chicago--they have a part to play in this, too. they tore the project down in state street. a lot of those people are from those projects, and they scattered them around the city from mostly the south and west side of chicago. now a lot of these children that we see out here now, you know, they're a product of many of their parents were teenage parents themselves. they came up in certain conditions. so it's like, i'm not-- >> yes, i was going to say thank you for joining us. you're right, my mama did teach me well, and it's not polite to ask a woman her age, but i assure you, you are still very young. thank you, kerry. it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami two years ago, officials trying to figure out how to clean up a power plant that is
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now leaking radioactive water.
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>> u.n. weapons inspectors spent the day coping through the site suspected weapons attack in syria. this is amateur video captured
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after a group of inspectors were visiting one of those sites. before that they were shot at. they're now back inside their hotel safely. convicted murderer and army psychiatriepsychiatrist nadal hs back at fort hood texas. he killed 13 people in 2009. the sentencing phase of that trial begins today. ouout of control wildfires s spreading in california. they've burned 225 square miles. that blaze said to be edging closer to a reservoir where san francisco gets it's drinking water. japan's government promising to take urgent action to end leaking radioactive water, they ordered the operator to improve the oversight and replace tanks that are at risk of leaking. tepco acknowledged last week that hundreds of tons of highly radioactive water leaked from a
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tank inside that plant. a push to reignite peace talks between the afghanistan government and the taliban, now urging pakistan to start the peace negotiations once again. hamid karzai was in islamabad on monday meeting with the prime minister of the country. pakistan is seen as a strong peace of the peace negotiations because of its strong ties with the taliban. >> in business, a bad sign for u.s. manufacturing, recording it's biggest drop in nearly a year in july. orders fell 7.3% breaking four straight months of gains and the economy may not bounce back as quickly as many economists
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expected. top websites like instagram and twitter's vine were down after amazon's web serve experienced a software problem. the problems come less than a week after amazon's web stores went off line for 45 minutes. google and microsoft suffered similar outages. amazon said the glitch has been fixed. a major drug deal. the country's largest drug company amgen buying onx pharmaceuticals. it would give amgen three cancer medications along with three in the testing phase. i'm dell walters. we are waiting word from secretary of state john kerry.
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